Thanks to the availability of high-quality craft spirits from local and global sources, the cocktail craze is booming -- especially right here, in Grand Rapids. Restaurants, distilleries and other craft beverage makers throughout the city serve up a dazzling lineup of classic and creative alcohol combinations. For a true cocktail bar experience, where drinks and conversation flow into the wee hours – and food menus are limited or non-existent – check out these popular destinations.

Side view of the exterior of Apartment Lounge at 33 Sheldon in Grand Rapids, MI

The Apartment Lounge, a downtown Grand Rapids fixture since 1972 – is a welcoming destination for open-minded folks of all persuasions.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience GR

The Apartment Lounge

Michigan’s oldest consistently operating LGBTQ+ bar – a downtown Grand Rapids fixture since 1972 – is a welcoming destination for open-minded folks of all persuasions. Comfortable, casual and unpretentious, the Apartment offers delectable cocktails along with an almost retro vibe. It’s located next to Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, so it’s a popular spot for relaxing before or after a show. Weekly specials include (Mar)Tini Tuesdays, Wine Wednesdays (half off premium bottles), and Thirsty Thursdays (half off cocktails).

Be sure to take note of the colorful “Rainbow Road” street mural outside the bar. It was installed in 2019 to mark the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots and celebrate the vibrancy of the local LGBTQ+ community.

BOLD Cigar Bar & Lounge

Premium cigars meet premium cocktails in this upscale but comfortable lounge in downtown Grand Rapids. BOLD offers a modern-rustic mix of wood, metal and leather combined with rich colors and dimmable lighting to create a sophisticated atmosphere that is attractive and appealing to both men and women. Owners Al and his wife Caitlin (Kate) and their staff are happy to advise patrons on cigar selections and cigar-and-cocktail pairings. 

If you plan to visit, note that the dress code at BOLD is business casual and be sure to check their Facebook page for live music events.

Buffalo Traders Lounge

Buffalo Traders Lounge's drink menu is a mixture of prohibition, pre-prohibition, and classic cocktails.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Buffalo Traders Lounge

Established in the summer of 2017, Buffalo Traders Lounge wanted to take the cocktail movement back to its roots. With that in mind, they based their menu and concept on prohibition and pre-prohibition cocktails, including the classics. The decor and vibe emphasizes the “lounge” in cocktail lounge, with a distinct 1970's flair that – coupled with friendly, knowledgeable service – puts everyone at ease.

Buffalo Traders Lounge showcases local spirit producers such as Eastern Kille Distillery and Long Road Distillers. The location in downtown Grand Rapids can seat around 50 people at a combination of seats at the bar, tables, and couches.

Drip Drop Cocktail Room

Opened in November 2022, this late-night cocktail bar is nestled between Fratelli’s Kitchen & Bar and the Anchor Bar in the busy Bridge Street Entertainment District. Drip Drop Cocktail Room serves up classic cocktails with a modern twist, utilizing everything from fresh herbs and fruit to flavorful spices and island-inspired ingredients. Choose from 10-15 different artisan cocktails at any given time, as well as an assortment of liquors. A small-plate food menu complements the drink offering.

With brick walls, vibrant colors, candlelit tables and cozy seating, Drip Drop is a perfect date-night destination or a great place for a nightcap after a downtown concert or stage show.

EK Wealthy

This Uptown neighborhood cocktail bar is an extension of Eastern Kille Distillery, a small-batch spirits operation with a tasting room and restaurant in downtown GR. EK Wealthy offers a carefully curated selection of signature cocktails, classic cocktails and draft cocktails, served up in a comfortable space with a bright, mid-century modern vibe.

Open until midnight Sunday-Thursday and 2am Friday and Saturday, EK Wealthy has cultivated a loyal following since opening in September 2022. Stop in after a movie or show at Wealthy Theatre, just a half-mile down the street, for a delicious cap to your evening. 

Patrons at the bar of General Wood Shop.

Enjoy a variety of cocktails, mock cocks, classic mixed drinks, and tasty bites at General Wood Shop.

Photo by Courtesy of General Wood Shop

General Wood Shop

Catering to the LGBTQIA+ community and allies, General Wood Shop is a place to feel at home and be yourself. With sassy drink names, splashes of glitz and glam, stunning small-plate food dishes and a comfortable ambiance, you're guaranteed a great experience at this intimate and stylish cocktail bar. Have the bartender whip up a signature cocktail or mock cock for you, or opt for a beer, cider or seltzer.

Located in the Bridge Street Entertainment District, the bar hosts events embracing the diversity of the queer community, from weekly lesbian nights to drag performances to Oscar viewing parties.


A private, covered, year-round balcony bar with indoor and outdoor seating, IDC affords guests a panoramic view of the street below and the city above. Located in the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton hotel, IDC is open to the public but requires a secret code to enter. (Sign up at the IDC website to get it – just don’t tell anyone we told you.) Delectable cocktails include a secret cocktail of the month (ask your server). Wine, beer, cider and seltzer are also available.

Less Traveled

This cocktail bar comes from the creative minds behind Long Road Distillers, the award-wining spirits company that has operated a bar and restaurant on GR’s west side since 2015. Less Traveled brings Long Road’s craft spirits and cocktails to the east side of town, in an intimate bar setting that also offers sunny outdoor seating. The menu consists of 20+ cocktails, many unique to this location, as well as a full complement of Long Road spirits, priced by taste and pour. Bottles are also available to go.

Less Traveled offers a limited snack menu – the focus here is on creating delectable cocktails that dazzle both the taste buds and the eyes. 

Cocktails and drinks at Lumber Baron Bar

Lumber Baron uses many local spirits because they aim to promote the growth of local business.

Photo by Experience Grand Rapids

Lumber Baron Bar

The Lumber Baron Bar, also located in the Amway Grand Plaza, Curio Collection by Hilton, offers the warmth and charm of a historic speakeasy, complete with fireplace, leather club chairs and a large selection of premium cocktails. The décor was inspired by the homes of lumber barons who built lavish mansions in the late 1800s, when Grand Rapids was known as the fine furniture capital of the world.

Lumber Baron’s cocktails are a perfect blend of balance and creativity – the knowledgeable staff puts as much care into a gin-and-tonic as they do a seven-ingredient cocktail.

Mammoth Distilling Cocktail Lounge

Mammoth Distilling Cocktail Lounge brings the taste, look and feel of northern Michigan to Uptown Grand Rapids. Mammoth Distilling is headquartered in Central Lake, 167 miles north of GR, where it crafts a full line of small-batch spirits, including rye, whiskey, bourbon, gin, vodka and “Cherry Bounce” liqueur. The company is known for using as many Michigan ingredients as possible to make its products, from Traverse City cherries to Rosen rye grown on South Manitou Island.

Mammoth opened this Grand Rapids location in November 2023 after transforming a former auto parts store into a rustic haven featuring hardwood floors, brick walls, dim lighting and a bar built atop piles of firewood. Guests can enjoy tasting flights of Mammoth spirits as well as craft cocktails made with them. Don’t see what you want on the menu? Just ask your bartender to mix it up for you.

The Lounge seats about 150 guests inside and there’s an awesome patio out back complete with a fire pit to keep guests cozy.  

Mo’s Lounge

Mangiamo, a much-loved Italian restaurant set in an 1870s-era mansion in Uptown GR, closed in 2017 – and then reopened in January 2024 with a “secret” addition: Mo’s Lounge, a retro cocktail bar tucked into the historic home’s basement.

Mo’s seats approximately 35 people in a cozy atmosphere that evokes the jazz club aesthetic of the early 1900s. The energy, though, is decidedly contemporary, with an inclusive ambience and Instagram-worthy drink presentations. The menu showcases Italian liquors mixed into an array of traditional and specialty cocktails, from a classic old-fashioned to Mo’s Mojo, made with Italian gin, aperol, lemon, orange, simple syrup and prosecco. Mo’s is open Wednesday-Saturday from 5pm-1am.

Pursuit of Happiness

A casual-yet-chic champagne bar and market in Uptown GR, Pursuit of Happiness offers a selection of “bubbles & troubles” – a selection of spritz cocktails made with their very own champagne, a delicately dry Blanc de Noirs. You can also get “bubbles by the glass” and “bubbles by the bottle” as well as an assortment of wine, beer and specialty cocktails.

For something delightfully different, try “Slap Me Twice & Call Me Sally,” which features a locally made Any Colour You Like popsicle swimming in Pursuit of Happiness bubbly (or non-alcoholic champagne). A small-plates food menu includes toasts and charcuterie, plus some “sweet thangs” from Mokaya, a nearby artisan chocolate and confections boutique.

Sidebar bar and liquor set up.

Sidebar's maximum seating capacity is 18, which adds to its charm.

Photo by Brian Craig for Experience GR


This hidden gem is located in a small room adjacent to Big O’ Pizza near Leo’s and CityFlats Hotel in downtown GR. Sidebar exudes a speakeasy vibe thanks to its secretive location, “backroom” atmosphere, ornate cocktails, lack of windows and old-world decor. Signature cocktails are devised and handcrafted by Sidebar’s staff of talented mixologists, and an extensive list of spirits are available for “neat pour.”

In order to maximize the comfort for their guests and maintain the speakeasy experience, Sidebar is stringent on their maximum seating capacity of 18.

There are many more wonderful cocktail destinations in Grand Rapids, from distilleries mixing their own spirits (like Bier Distillery and Michigan Moonshine Distillery) to restaurants sourcing spirits and drink recipes from Italy (Post Off), Korea (K-ROK), Mexico (MeXo) the South Pacific (Max’s South Seas Hideaway) and all points global. You can enjoy cocktails with a view (Knoop, MDRD and Mertens Rooftop), cocktails with a concert (Midtown), cocktails in sumptuous surroundings (Scholar) and even cocktails mixed with Michigan-made Faygo soda (The Tin Can Bar).

Whether you’re looking to try something new, or you’ve already found your favorite cocktail, there are plenty of fantastic locations in Grand Rapids to sip and savor.

Check out our Instagram Reel below of some of Grand Rapids' top cocktail bars!